Holmes finds redemption

May 06, 2016
@Normal:Edwin Allen's Rayan Holmes (front) wins the high-school boys' 400 metre hurdles championship at the Penn Relays on Saturday. Holmes clocked 52.46 seconds, finishing ahead of Rivaldo Leacock (centre) of Barbados and Orlando Smith (right) of Kingston College.

When Rayan Holmes crossed the finish line first in the 400-metre hurdles at the recent Penn Relays in Philadelphia, the victory earned him more than just the coveted Relays watch.

The Edwin Allen High student-athlete also won the admiration of Kingston College hurdles coach Raymond Graham, who says Holmes has a great future.

A reported anxiety attack forced him to withdraw from the 400m hurdles final at Boys' and Girls' Athletic Championships in March, where he was favoured by Graham to win.

"I had two hurdlers in the race, but I am happy for him because of what he went through at the Boys and Girls' Championships. There, I thought he would have won, to be honest with you," Graham said.

"Coming back and winning, I think this has helped him," he added.

Holmes clocked 52.46 seconds to win despite the Penn chills over outstanding Barbadian Rivaldo Leacock, the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games champion. In warmer conditions in Jamaica, Holmes ran 52.01 in the Champs-qualifying round to grab a spot in the ill-fated final. Weeks earlier, he had placed second at the Central Championships.

Graham praised Holmes and noted that he wasn't a prominent name at the start of the season. Holmes was a 400m hurdles semi-finalist at Champs last year.

His advance this season was impressive.

"He came on late, so we could see something special in this young athlete because we didn't see anything about him last year or previous years," said Graham.

"I was wondering where he came from, and to come so late and running those times, I think he has a great future," he said.

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